admin Thursday, February 8, 2024 Comments Off on Mazen’s

Here we are, in the winter doldrums. The time of idle, where we look forward to the pleasant weather of spring and reflect over the past few weeks and the shared memories with family and friends through the holidays. It is said, Christmas is a time of giving.

This holiday season, we received a much-appreciated Mazen’s gift certificate from our dear friends.

My wife, Shyla, loves a spotless home, while I’m cool with a casual, lived-in look. She prefers it presentable at any given time in case a friend or family member drops in. 

On a Saturday morning with nothing on our schedule I decided to utilize Mazen’s online reservation system, hoping for an open spot for the evening. It’s a very user-friendly interface; you simply select the number of guests, your choice of seating in the main dining room or bar area, and any available time slots. You can also add any special requests or comments. Once the restaurant had opened, I received confirmation of my reservation.

When we visited Mazen’s previously, we had chosen traditional dining in the main room, knowing our teenage daughter was more than likely going to crash our table before the night was over. This time, with little chance of a surprise, we opted to sit at the bar.  It’s a different relationship between the patrons and the bartender. The bartenders are always there and are willing to engage in conversation with you or others seated alongside. 

A black linen was draped atop the white quartz bar, menus were carefully propped open, and Claire welcomed us, asking for our drink preference.  I looked through some of the specialty cocktails offered, and many seemed to lean towards the sweeter side. I asked Claire if she could do something along smooth and spicy.  Claire returned with a dirty martini for Shyla and a cucumber jalapeño martini with a chili citrus sided rim for me.

That night’s off-menu special, the eggplant tower, came highly recommended. The first of our many shared dishes, it consisted of delicately fried eggplant medallions, each layer topped with sweet crab, dripping in a creamy mornay sauce.  For the second appetizer, I was leaning toward the carpaccio, but Shyla and Claire voted for the Mediterranean shrimp, which were bathed in seasoned olive oil, garlic, lemon and herbs, leaving enough on the dish to dip the fluffy cuts of warm pita.

We could have easily waltzed through the entire appetizer selection without regret and gone home happy. However, there were irresistible entrées to choose from.

When it comes to fish dishes, Mazen’s is unique in a sense. They offer a variety of preparations, including a zesty shrimp, spinach, and tomato Florentine with oven roasted pecans in the kitchen’s perfect browned butter sauce. On this night, the catch of the day was Red Snapper Aladdin, and that was Shyla’s dinner choice. The fresh fillet was pan toasted to a gentle crust and served in lemon butter saffron and topped with lump crab meat.

I wasn’t going to let the opportunity for a veal entrée slip away. I chose the Oscar. In a smooth and creamy mornay sauce of mushroom and lump crab, the tender flour dusted veal literally melted in my mouth with each and bite.

As soon as I had mentioned we were going to dinner at Mazen’s, Shyla’s eyes lit up and she said, “Grand Mariner Soufflé!”, so there were no ifs ands or buts as to how the evening was going to finish. You have two option with this dessert. Kindly notify your server you’d like the soufflé as you place your entrée order, or, hang around for another 45 minutes. Making a souffle is a process, an art. Soft and almost cake-like on the outside, pure Grand Mariner merengue inside, the sweet whipped cream helps cool each bite.

Mazen’s is a wonderful dining experience. While it’s popular and most often busy, it’s not stuffy, overly quiet or rushed. It was a delicious and fun date night, and we thank our friends, Sam and Sharon (Istre), for this Christmas gift.

217 W. College St., Lake Charles


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